I had some reeeeally bad TMJ pain some years back - at the time didn't know what it was, dentist thought it was an absess, sent me to another dentist who thought the same thing, but wasn't sure, sent me to a specialist who was about to do anabscess surgery through the side of my mouth, but took one more look at the x-rays and realized it was a bad case of TMJ.The pain was, like you have, temples, jaw, neck, up back of neck, shoulders and very severe - I was in screaming pain.
Since I kept tossing my mouthpiece in the middle of the night, I had to find another avenue. When I was getting physicaltherapy for my herniated disc, I told my PT about the TMJ and he gave me some AWESOME stretches to help with the pain.Hope I can explain them well enough here in words:
1. Sit comfortably, take a deep breath and let shoulders relax as much as possible. Nod head to left (don't push it, just as far as it will go towards resting on your shoulder), then slowly look up and off to the left, keeping eyes looking up. This stretches out the neck muscles like you wouldn't believe. Again, don't push these, just enough to feel a stretch. Do the same thing on the right side.
2. Sit comfortably, or stand, taking deep breath to relax shoulders as much as possible. Turn your head as far as it will go w/out pushing it to the left. Take another deep breath, and while breathing out, look down to your left as if trying to look at your toes and hold. Repeat on the right side.
They stretch parts of the neck and shoulder that really hurt. I sure hope this helps. Whenever I have head, neck or shoulder pain from TMJ or the frozen shoulder I had, I do these exercises. Just a couple or few times on each side seems to do the trick! Sorry you're having TMJ issues... I know how much it sucks!
~ Julie O'
When I did have a mouthguard, I was told it isn't meant to take care of the pain, but only to protect your teeth from being ground down to nothing -
I was told that from the Specialist I went to way back when. So the exercises, are they helping? If not, I'm in total agreement with you (finally - it
took awhile to get to this point) - about not having to have to live in pain every day. Have you suggested to your doctor some form of tranquilizer?
TMJ is generally caused by nerves, anxiety and the like (can also be caused by being freezing cold, of course), but tranquilizers, i.e., maybe Klonapin
or Xanax, may just help you to relax enough that the grinding/clamping stops altogether. These are what I take, for among other reasons, TMJ, but
mostly anxiety. My TMJ problems have gone waaaaaaay down since I started taking anti-anxiety medication. Have any of the stretches worked at
all? Also, the pain medication won't get rid of the anxiety, so it's understandable it wouldn't get rid of the severe pain and headaches that TMJ
can cause when it's severe.
Wishing you peace and pain-free-ness(?) is that a word?
I'll take painfreeness!! LOL!! Anything!
Not much is helping at this point. I am sleeping better at night so I can tolerate the pain thru the day better. Usually by 5pm I've had it. I am staying quiet, doing little things in the house. I will go for a walk today outside as it is nicer out. I see the tmj specialist on Monday and he will check the splint to see if any adjustments need to be made. Once this starts to work it should help immensely. Well, put it this way, I have all my hopes in this working because I just can't keep going like this. So I must stay positive and do one day at a time. I am trying to avoid anti-depressants for now and fight this as best as I can. The mouthguard is made specifically to advance the lower jaw as I need more space at the condylar head. Need more time. At the end of each day I say, ok, I am one day closer to feeling better.
have a great pain free day all
Hi Suzane and welcome to HW. I am a little late as usual,lol. I do remember those TMJ headaches and the neck pain. Oh, it was just awful, I do remember that. I had an auto accident that started my problems, I was rear ended and at a stop & hit by a car doing 45 that did not apply his brakes at any time.
This was when they were first playing around with the dx of TMJ problems and few had any knowledge of it. Fortunately, my dentist did and he helped me a great deal. I was in splints both upper & lower for almost 9 months 24/7. Oh, it was awful trying to learn to talk with all that crap in my mouth,lol. Jeez, it seemed like all I did was drool everywhere. He did have to make adjustments in my splints too. Things were really knocked out of alignment. He did have me on muscle relaxers & light pain meds, I remember that. I had exercises to do daily. Over time mine did get somewhat better. However, now when I have dental work, my dentist recommended that 45 minutes prior to my appt to take a muscle relaxer and pain pill. My mouth still does not open fully, it only goes so far and thats it. It makes it very difficult for a dentist to work on me. It also trigger my old TMJ problems if much dental work is done. My dentist retired and this new guy was a little too rough on me and I told him about it. They took over my dentist practice and had all of my records. I told him that trying to pry jaws open that can't is not the correct way to handle a TMJ patient and perhaps he needed to read up on it.
A friend of mine had the TMJ surgery as a last resort. They went in and put screws in her jaw. It was an extremely painful surgery for her, I remember that. Once she recovered she did very well. I remember she had her mouth wired and drank liquids thru a straw for awhile.
I sure hope you get some relief very soon. As you know from previous experience pain can be debilitating at times. Hugs, Susie